Thursday, 21 April 2011


From a whisper of milky hued chiffon to burnished rose provocateurs, bridal trousseau undercrackers have always appealed to my naughty side. Knickers so good/bad (delete as appropriate) they inspire new husbands to want to whip them off in a twinkling upon discovering that you're not naked underneath that beautiful bridal gown, but better.

Given that my current presiding situation is one of no actual wedding dress: much as Vivienne Westwood's 'Carrie' gown goes by the parlance of 'my dress' in our household: it makes some small sense to me that if I have spectacular lingerie, at least I won't have to go up the aisle completely naked. There will be a quarter inch or two of nuanced silk saving my modesty. And doesn't the common dialectic go that fine underwear is the foundation of any outfit? Get the basics right, to to speak, and the rest will follow? It almost makes the purchase of the prettiest bridal lingerie touched with borderline saucery seem positively virtuous, and very wise.

Agent Provocateur 'Tilly'
Bra £75, Briefs £70
Agent Provocateur are the iconic go-to for feminine, yet rollicking underwear - their latest bridal range is suitably covetable for its stirring, playful glamour that harks to a soft-lit hotel suite in Paris some time circa 1978 (in a very good way).

Myla 'Cherie' in Sugared Almond
Halterneck Balcony Bra £110

Nothing quite surpasses the majesty of ridiculously pretty panties. It's something Myla and Stella McCartney know well, hence their delicate fit, French handmade lace and swoony detailing such as silk satin halterneck ribbons.

For the bad girls among us, there is something slightly ribald about Victoria's Secret's new bridal line, Sexy Little Bride, as modelled by Lily Aldridge, future model wife of Kings of Leon's Caleb Followill. But whipped piles of organza peeping over the tops of bras, and snow white knickers with a miniature veil detail are delightful in their own, slightly asking-for-debauchery way. They have a new store in central London, but will happily ship from their US site, within 21 days.

Victoria's Secret

Go forth and frisk!!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Coming up roses: Seasonal wedding flowers for the novice

Whether marrying in the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness (commonly known as cider), high summer, a snow-blanketed Michaelmas or giddy springtime, flowers are an incontrovertible must at any   wedding.

Whilst I'm not going to hector or plead my inner hippy, prancing Stevie Nicks-style with a flowery crown, tambourine in hand and goat following - it has become increasingly natural to wish to not only go local with suppliers, but to try (as much as British clement weather permits) to stay seasonal. And with such great beauty available on any budget with our traditional seasonal flora and fauna, why wouldn't you?
Flowers not only add a heady dose of tradition and wild ostentation to proceedings, but sully the air in the sweetest perfumes. Tastes and timbres have changed over the past few years from conventional piles of lusty roses to more indigenous blossoms, delicate blooms clustered together to gain ethereal structure, and my favourite, the renaissance of using herbs with their dark, woody scents and poetic analogies.

There are a host of breathtakingly accomplished and cool florists out there, but if you can it's worth getting yourself to one of these just for a posy-round (sorry) and inspiration:
Scarlet & Violet, Chamberlayne Road, London
LK Lily, Essex (but willing to do events nationwide)
Absolute Flowers - the flowers featured in this month's Vogue Wedding special tucked behind Lara Stone et al's ears, Little Venice, London
The Real Flower Company, Selfridges London and West Sussex
Northern Flower - even if just to see the delightful Rowan in action, Manchester,
I Heart Flowers, Glasgow,
Jamie Aston, London - also runs a fantastic day course in wedding flowers for the green fingered (£185)

With this in mind, below is an overview of each season's flower highlights, some of their floriographical symbolism's, and a few little inspirations of the clothing, catering and other wedding ephemera kind...

If you do, however, have a particular fondness for out of season or exotic overseas blooms, then you might consider 'hothouse' flowers, or at least Fairtrade, reduced airmiles flowers from the likes of M & S.
*Soft-core lecture aside.

Year Round

- Calia Lily
- Carnation
- Dill: symbolises 'lust' (oh-er), and has an olive gold burst of blossom in summer
- Freesia: comes in a cocktail of colours, symbolises 'Trust'
- Gardenia: bountiful soft white blooms, signifies 'You're lovely'
- Hydrangea: the luscious heads of tiny blossoms in pale cerise, mauve, cream/green
- Lily: Symbolises beauty
- Mint: fresh, sweet perfume litters the air with this hardy herb, symbolising 'virtue'
- Orchid
- Ranuculus: Pillowy soft millefeuille layers in washed out rose, or milk tinged with green hearts.
- Rose: can't get more English than these lavish beauties.
- Stephanotis: Creamy star-shaped blooms
- Rosemary: musky sweet scent, with a lilac blossom in summer and narrow bottle green needles

- Cherry Blossom
- Cow Parsley: Dainty white fronds of flowers, technically a weed, but a pretty one.
- Daffodils: symbolise chivalry
- Dogwood: dusky pink clusters 

Top: Peony laced bouquet;

- *Elderflower: a denser, prettier Cow Parsley in appearance, symbolising 'zeal'*
- Forsythia: buttery flowered branches
- Hellebore: Graphic, strong blooms
- Hyacinth
- Lilac: brooms of miniature mauve flowers
- Lily of the Valley: delectable fragrance, swells of soft amber tinged white blossoms
- Muscari: bluebell-like
- Peony
- Tulip
- Quince
- Sweetpea
* Why not have a bash at Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall style Elderflower Champagne?
And spring evening's can cool quickly once the sun has set, stay prettily un-goosebumped with this downright lovely cashmere Valentino shawl, £900 at

- Apple blossom: abundant dainty flowers, symbolising 'good fortune'
- Astilbe: towers of punch-drunk hot pink, lilac, scarlet, cinnamon and cream
- Cornflower: virtuoso purple spikes of petals, symbolising 'delicacy'
- Cosmos
- Dahlia
- Daisy
- Delphinium: a deep purple one for the rockers, looks like a softer Cornflower, symbolises 'fun'.

A Real Flower Company garden rose bouquet

- Garden Rose: the rose for those that don't like roses, gentle, velvety textured blooms in quiet colours.
- Gladiolus: symbolises 'generosity'
- Hollyhock: beacon towers of trumpet-like blooms in country garden colours, symbolises 'fruitfulness'
- Honeysuckle: popping pink trumpets that symbolise 'The bond of Love'
- Lady's Mantle: pale sunshine coloured, tiny, tight flowers
- Larkspur: a regal blue, super pretty bloom symbolising 'An open heart'
- Lavender: abiding soft purple coloured country flowers, with heady scent, symbolising 'Love' and 'devotion'
- Marigold: symbolises affection
- Scabiosa: frilled edged petals with a pin-cushion heart
- Snap Dragon: Bassett's Fruit Salad coloured blossom in hot red, clementine and yellow symbolises 'hope'
- Violet: dinky, velveteen inky purple blooms, symbolises 'happiness' and 'love'
** French Connection's Fuschia 1970s redux 'Shelby' gown is practically crying out for a bridemaid to wear it at a summer wedding, £155 from
Corn sheaves are traditionally associated with fecundity -they made an enchanting embellishment to the Spring/Summer 2011 Alexander McQueen show - harvested in summer, use prodigiously for a puritan, rustic country feel.

Blue Eryngium
- Blue Eryngium or 'Oxford Blue': stormy indigo star-shaped thistley flowers.
- Crysanthemum: symbolises 'abundance', 'wealth' and 'love'.
- Dahlia: Big, ornately architectural, showy blooms signifying 'Forever Thine'
- Heather: highly scented lavender or white fronds, with lilac symbolising 'Admiration' and White, 'protection'
- Sunflower

**You might also want to look to pears, which symbolise 'affection', and look particularly decadent decked in gold leaf.
For added autumnal spirit, scatter burnt gold, firey hued crisp leaves underfoot, use conkers as table adornments,and don these 'Asteria' corkers from Sergio Rossi, £710, under your gown,

- Amarylis: Lily-like petals with hot paprika centres fading out to pink, or snow white.
- Anemone: richly coloured in purple, ivory and poppy red
- Evergreens: For your very own Narnia
- Ivy: the dark horse of plants, sinking green leaves that symbolise - aptly - 'wedded love' and 'fidelity'
- Mistletoe: for the soppy ones
- Poinsettia
- Snowberry: little moon-like berries on branches
The darkest winter months are also ample opportunity to run wild with a snow festooned theme, warming mulled wine or spiced cider and a seriously red lipstick such as Tom Ford's Private Blend in 'Smoke Red', £35 at Selfridges and House of Fraser,